Over the past weeks we have received a lot of calls, IMs and emails from frantic parents as they struggle with the eMap system. Parents who want to enrol their children at boarding schools are supposed to use this system instead of driving to each school looking for places.
Emap is a mess
While eMap was supposed to be a solution it is turning out to be a problem. According to a statement by Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou, the online platform eMap system is a dysfunctional piece of technology. It would appear that it’s not just parents who are facing issues when trying to use the system. Teachers and schools are failing to use it.
Schools are failing to use the system to enrol students, a week after Grade seven results are out. Not even a single secondary school has managed to use the online applications to enrol. The schools are neither accepting the alternative manual method as they religiously wait for a directive from the ministry but sadly, nothing is coming from the ministry that in itself looks to be running out of ideas. Several parents are using their hard earned money to visit where schools they would have applied to only to be informed that the same schools were facing challenges in processing applications; why has the ministry adopted a system it cannot use. Several parents have been inconvenienced while uncertainty and anxiety has cropped into many candidates who cannot secure Form One places because of a dysfunctional technology that further points to incompetence and lackadaisical approach by the ministry.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education needs to put its house in order
The eMap system was born deformed and it has been plagued by problems from day one. The biggest problem in my book is the attitude problem. Officials have months when the system is not in use and they can improve it. Instead they keep it offline on a shelf somewhere and wheel the buggy thing back online-warts and all-every November.
We have outlined the system’s potential and list of things that need improvement on countless occasions. Last week we made a list of improvements that would make the system better for everyone. All our, and other people’s, pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
The good way was certainly better than this endless frustration
I went to a boarding school myself and for me the old way seems much better and well thought out. Most schools would require you to send an application letter while you were still in Grade 7. The school I ultimately went to send me a provisional acceptance letter and asked me to attend a written interview which they administered.
I went in and aced that interview and got my final acceptance letter around July of my Grade 7 year. The letter came with a list of requirements. By August of that year my father had bought most of the required items except the trunk which he bought in November. He had all the time in the world to raise my first fees too.
There were no incidents of blood pressure or tears. In fact I attended three interviews and got places for all these schools well before I even wrote my Grade 7 exams. You would think with the prevalence of technology such as WhatsApp, the Web and Email the whole process would be faster or easier – you would be wrong.
eMap is abandoned
It would seem the government simply ordered parents and schools to use eMap and just left the system as it is. The Zimbabwean government tends to do this a lot. They announce things in a flurry of pomp and fanfare before moving on. Remember ZIMASSET ,that meaningless phrase that passed through every official’s lips on a daily basis. Now it’s some rubbish about making us a mid-income economy by 2030.
eMap seems to be one of those ramblings someone, Mr Lazurus Dokora perhaps, came up with, now everyone is stuck with it until someone thinks of something else.